Foreigner Concert Review Featuring an Interview with Ron Lowe

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Foreigner is currently on tour with Kid Rock for his Cheap Date Tour and on Saturday night, they put on an amazing show at San Manuel Amphitheater in San Manuel, CA. They performed some of their biggest hits to a packed house and had a very special guest on stage with them during the second to last song of the night. For us, two girls who grew up on rock, this was a night to never be forgotten. Foreigner are rock legends in our eyes and to witness them live was seriously a treat.

Before the show kicked off, we were fortunate enough not only have meet and greet tickets for ourselves but to also give away a set of meet and greet passes to one online winner and one in person winner. Amanda and Kendra were our lucky winners. Cook was especially excited because she had her 10 year old daughter with her. Kendra thanked us and said that this would surely be an experience that her daughter Jocelyn would never forget, even if she didn’t know the magnitude of it at that moment.

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Kendra and Jocelyn with their meet and greet passes

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Amanda with her meet and greet pass

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Kendra and Jocelyn with Foreigner

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Amanda and Bill with Foreigner

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Alessandra & Jamie (Trendom) with Foreigner

We were floored by the energy and vocal power of Foreigner’s lead singer Kelly Hanson – the man was everywhere on stage, seemingly all at once. He ran around playing instruments with his bandmates, dancing with, and sometimes, on them, and showing off his mic cam that pointed straight upwards (go ahead and take a moment to visualize that). Hanson, as a native Californian, was very happy to welcome the audience by proclaiming that the Golden State has the most beautiful women in the country. At one point, Hanson ran off the main stage only to be raised up on a platform in the middle of the crowd.

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Kelly Hanson on stage

Foreigner’s set started off without a key member of the band on stage but a few songs in, Hanson introduced the man himself, Mr. Mick Jones, founding member of Foreigner and one of the newest inductees to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Jones stayed and played on stage the rest of the set and shredded on the guitar like only a rock legend like himself could. Listening to his solos was chill inducing when you realize how much history is behind those notes and chords. Alongside him was Thom Gimbel, multi-instrumentalist for the band. Throughout the set, Gimbel played guitar and keyboard, along with his truly rocking saxophone solo in ‘Urgent’ that had the entire audience on their feet and screaming.

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Thom Gimbel and Mick Jones 

The set closed out with a special performance of ‘I Want To Know What Love Is” by way of the Paakuma Middle School Show Choir. Just before the chorus hit in the song, the choir appeared on stage in matching blue shirts and sang their hearts out. The choir was comprised of students in grades 6 through 8 who attend the brand new San Bernardino area school. Throughout the song, Jeff Pilson (bass guitar) directed the kids and coaxed some out of their shells, making a few of the more nervous ones smile through their singing. The song ended with Pilson inviting one girl down to shred on his guitar. The choir is one of many performing with Foreigner on this tour. It’s all part of the band’s efforts to support The Grammy Foundation and keeping the musical arts in schools around the country.

Foreigner closed out their set with a rousing performance of ‘Hot Blooded’ that had us jumping, singing, and rocking all the way out. It was definitely a sight to see and at some points, we had to look at each other and check to see if this was all real. Rock gods do exist and Foreigner is definitely up there. At this point in the performance, Hanson took control of the crowd cam and hoisted it on his shoulders, going between panning the crowd to filming his bandmates. We didn’t want the set to end. We wanted to extend a sincere thank you to Foreigner for putting on amazing live performances and making music that transcends generations.

 

As a follow up to speaking with Thom, we also got a chance to speak with the choir director Ron Lowe of Paakuma Middle School to talk about their experience.

Trendom: Hi Ron, how are you?
Ron Lowe: Hello! I’m great thanks for asking.

Trendom: First off, how long have you been a choir director?
RL: I have been in this district for 15 years. Prior to that, I was at Los Angeles Unified GWHS for four years, and out of state for four years prior to that.

Trendom: Were you a fan of Foreigner before this opportunity arose for you and your choir?
RL: Of course, they’re a great band. I had come across them at a different time when I was Choir Director of San Bernardino High School in 2012 and the band did a performance at downtown San Bernardino. Earlier this summer, they called me again but at that time I had just changed schools to the middle school. It’s great that the concert is at San Manuel because our middle school is named after the tribe leader of the San Manuel tribe. Our school is actually brand new – we just opened on August 1st.

Trendom: What has it been like working with Foreigner in the past?
RL: It was a wonderful experience. The band made the kids feel so at ease. The classic hits set the scene really nicely. It’s also the amazing experience of performing with a professional.

Trendom: Did the kids get to meet the band prior to tonight?
RL: No, they’re meeting them tonight. We’ll do soundcheck first and then go from there. Honestly think the parents are more excited (laughs).

Trendom: What extra work (outside of school) have the kids put into preparing for this performance?
RL: We have a brand new school and started practicing day one. We’re performing ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ with the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

Trendom: How will tonight’s performance benefit your program specifically?
RL: First, it’s great PR for the school and second, we do get a $500 honorarium which we’ll use for musical equipment and materials. It will help our fundraising efforts this year. Arts programs have to do a lot of fundraising. Since we’re a brand new school, we don’t have any other field trips planned as of yet. We’ll also try to do winter and spring concerts.

Trendom: Is there anything you would like to say specifically to the band or The Grammy Foundation?
RL: I would just like to thank them so much. We are so honored that we have been selected to have this wonderful experience. Music education is so, so important.

 

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Alessandra
I’m a 26 year old working professional who fangirls in her free time, and not-so-free time, over One Direction, Ed Sheeran, 5SOS, Fleetwood Mac, Marvel and DC comics, and Harry Potter along with a plethora of other fangirl worthy topics. Writing and sharing stories is my passion and I hope to make a living out of it someday. I love classic rock, new rock, classic 80’s songs that inspire bad dance moves, books and movies galore. I didn’t choose the fangirl life, the fangirl life chose me.

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